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A central debate in contemporary philosophy of perception concerns the disjunctive theory of perceptual experience. Until the 1960s, philosophers of perception generally assumed that a veridical perception (a perceptual experience that presents the world as it really is) and a subjectively similar hallucination must have significant mental commonalities. Disjunctivists challenge this assumption, contending that the veridical perception and the corresponding hallucination share no mental core. Suppose that while you are looking at a lemon, God suddenly removes it, while keeping your brain activity constant. Although you notice no change, disjunctivists argue that the preremoval and postremoval experiences are radically different. Disjunctivism has gained prominent supporters in recent years, as well as attracting much criticism. This reader collects for the first time in one volume classic texts that define and react to disjunctivism. These include an excerpt from a book by the late J. M. Hinton, who was the first to propose an explicitly disjunctivist position, and papers stating a number of important objections.
Contributors: Alex Byrne, Jonathan Dancy, J. M. Hinton, Mark Johnston, Harold Langsam, Heather Logue, M. G. F. Martin, John McDowell, Alan Millar, Howard Robinson, A. D. Smith, Paul Snowdon
About the Editors
Alex Byrne is Professor of Philosophy at MIT and the coeditor of Fact and Value: Essays on Ethics and Metaphysics for Judith Jarvis Thomson (2001) and Readings on Color, volumes 1 and 2 (1997), all published by the MIT Press.
Heather Logue is a graduate student in Philosophy at MIT.
"Disjunctivism is probably the single most important idea in philosophy of perception, epistemology, and theory of reference today. This collection gives you all you need to know to make up your own mind. It takes you from the seminal papers with which the discussion began to the contemporary state of the art. The issues are complex, far-reaching, and often argued with much passion. I don't know a better place to begin than with the cool, lucid overview provided by the editors, itself a masterly essay. An indispensable collection."
—John Campbell, University of California, Berkeley
"The disjunctive theory of perceptual experience is one of the most important ideas in contemporary philosophy of mind. Byrne and Logue's collection brings together the most important writings by the leading disjunctivistsHinton, Snowdon, McDowell, and Martinas well as some of their most prominent critics, into one handy volume. The book also contains a fine introduction by the editors, which will helpfully guide newcomers through some of the more complex arguments in this area. This is an absolutely invaluable collection for anyone who wants to call him- or herself a philosopher of mind."
Tim Crane, Professor of Philosophy, University College London
"Disjunctivism is the most important recent development in the philosophy of perception, requiring that we rethink much that was taken for granted. This invaluable collection conveniently brings together for the first time classic articles on the topic. This is essential reading not only for the philosophy of perception, but for philosophy of mind and epistemology, more generally."
Mark Eli Kalderon, Department of Philosophy, University College London, and author of Moral Fictionalism
"This is a marvelous collection that brings together the key documents in one of the most exciting (but controversial) developments in recent philosophy of perception. The papers constitute a very orderly line of inquiry, starting from Hinton's original work in the 1960s and continuing to the present day. Moreover, Byrne and Logue's introduction is excellent and will be especially helpful for those who always wanted to know what disjunctivism is but were afraid to ask."
Daniel Stoljar, Department of Philosophy, Australian National University